E3 2018 Hands-On Preview: Trover Saves the Universe is Pure Justin Roiland

E3 2018 Hands-On Preview: Trover Saves the Universe is Pure Justin Roiland

June 20, 2018Written by Chandler Wood

Hey, what’s up everybody? I’m reviewer guy! We’re here on PSLS to take some looks at this new game I’m gonna show you right now. Trover Saves the Universe. Let’s give it a look (this is your cue to watch the trailer). Oh whoa! That’s some action-platforming stuff. I’m the reviewer guy! I’m always reviewing, but you know, it’s not about me right now. It’s about this game (please watch more of the trailer). Whoa, look at that! That’s exciting footage that I just saw. Oh, I played it at E3. Look at me, I’m a cool cucumber over here, previewing this cool game.

Just before E3 this year, I got a mysterious meeting request. Squanch Games–the studio founded by Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland–would be in Sony’s press lounge and had something to show me. It was very secretive at first. The studio hadn’t even publicly announced that they would be at E3, let alone have something playable. At the Sony press conference, a bizarre game called Trover Saves the Universe was announced. It had a dude in a bathtub, a guy with two little faces for eyes, and plenty of Justin Roiland’s signature dialog.

Trover Saves the Universe Preview 1

Justin Roiland’s got his hands–or rather, his voice–in a lot of games now, specifically VR games. Some are simply games he’s lent himself to, like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, and others are games created by his own Squanch Games studio (formerly Squanchtendo, but changed for obvious reasons). Their first PSVR game, Accounting+, was more of a virtual experience than an actual game. There was a lot of listening to hilarious and bizarre dialog, but not much in the way of actual gameplay.

Trover Saves the Universe remedies that by adding Justin Roiland’s voice to a game full of actual gameplay. The game features two characters: the guy on the chair (the player) and Trover, the dude with two eyes on his eyes. Yeah it’s weird, just roll with it. Trover is a talkative one, and Roiland had recorded special dialog just for those playing at E3. Trover spoke directly to me as a reviewer and asked me to consider giving the title Game of Show.

Trover Saves E3

Sitting in the chair from first-person view, I was able to control Trover from third-person. It’s an interesting blend of gameplay styles. In classic Roiland style, Trover Saves the Universe breaks a ton of conventions. The gameplay is very much tied to the dialog, so as floating yellow naked guy flitted around me, yelling curses about some asshole named Michael, it was my responsibility to just move on. In fact, the dailogue changes quite a bit depending on what actions you take in the game. If I smacked naked yellow guy, his dialog would change briefly to address that. If I tried to look away, he would swoop in to always be taking up my view. If I ran off on secret side paths as Trover, he would comment on where I was going and what I was doing.

Trover Saves the Universe Preview 1

One puzzle near the end saw me trying to solve a button puzzle that would up being unsolvable. The clues, once again, were in the dialog. While I was furiously trying to solve the unsolvable, Trover was yelling at me to just come down from there and stop trying. Eventually I lowered the chair from where I was attempting to solve the button puzzle and was able to just smash through the door as Trover. After bashing through the door, the camera panned out to show the rest of the level and the dialog once again found a self-referential nature, talking about how cool the full game is going to be, once again asking for Game of Show, and then mentioning that the screen was going black as it faded out.

Good news for those that don’t own PSVR: Trover Saves the Universe is available as a standalone PS4 game as well. The PSVR version seems like the definitive way to play (I didn’t actually try it on a normal screen), but for those without the headset, you can still get in on Justin Roiland’s unconventional but hilarious venture into games. You won’t want to miss this one, and you can trust me on that. I’m reviewer guy, a cool cucumber who got to preview this game. Game of Show? In many ways, it just might have been.

Don’t miss all of our E3 2018 coverage.

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